With NBA 2K18 launching, basketball fans around the world are set to virtually replicate the in-game skills of their sporting heroes.
The game promises a more all-round experience this year, with players able to progress from the playground in the game’s The Neighbourhood mode, which includes mini games, parks, a barber shop and more.
But what does someone who has coached at NBA level make of the game?
Neal Meyer is a former NBA coach with close to two decades of experience who has worked with Shaquille O’Neal, Scottie Pippen and LeBron James – and he’s impressed.
“I think it’s really accurate. It’s amazing the development it’s had over the years, how it looks, how the players perform on the court and how realistic it is,” said Meyer.
“Even things like the coaches, their use of pick and rolls, transition threes – all that stuff is there,” he continued, referring to basketball tactics.
Meyer was speaking at a 2K Sports event, where he demonstrated some basic skills and moves. Games such as NBA 2K18 encourage flair and skill, but just how accurate is that in the real world of basketball?
“Especially at the youth level we encourage focus on the fundamentals, but as you get more advanced there are times when you do need to make that behind-the-back pass or between-the-legs pass for example,” said Meyer.
“It’s part of the game, and as you get better and you play against better players sometimes you have to get creative.
“The player development at NBA level is so good that most premier players add skills, including Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook,” he continued. “And the other thing is that those players are so quick and strong, that when they do it, it’s like there’s nothing the defence can do.”
And while the game and the real thing are two very different activities, Meyer recognised that the inspiration factor encourages people to go out and try to replicate the skills they perform on the virtual court.
“A lot of casual fans play these games and to be able to see, control and really do what the players do on the court is really cool,” he said.
“Kids nowadays, they play the game and replicate it, or they go on YouTube and they watch these guys doing their skills and drills, and that’s how this game evolves.”
NBA 2K18 is available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows and Nintendo Switch from September 15.